Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

I’ll Get Up And Fly Away

bobby fly guitar bus

As noticed by all who watched the ‘cast last night from Bonnaroo, there was another guest star in addition to Mrs. Donna Jean: the Parker Fly guitar. He (or someone) posted this pic from his tour bus before the show. (Bobby has a tour bus. We’ll get to that, too.)

The Parker Fly was invented, naturally, by a guy named Larry Fishman. It is an exceedingly nerdy guitar: it is to a Strat what a McLaren P1 is to a Miata; they’re both two-seater sports cars, but one’s made out of unobtainium. You see the part that looks like the body of a guitar? It’s not: that’s a carbon fiber exoskeleton with hardwood overlays. And the neck’s part-carbon fiber, too, and instead of regular pickups, the thing has piezoelectrics. (Piezoelectrics have something to do with ceramic. That is the extent of my knowledge, and that’s probably wrong.) The bridge is super-advanced and has a multitude of settings. The tuning pegs are made of mithril.

As you know, Enthusiasts, the financial metric in use at Fillmore South is the Ford Focus; the Fly is not that expensive. You could not get a new Ford Focus for its price, but you could pick up a 2006 with 100,00 miles and a clean bill of health.

What’s the point, you might ask? Weight. The Fly’s carbon fiber construction means it’s only 4.5 pounds, which is around half as light as most guitars, or one-tenth of the weight of Tiger.

So: is Bobby’s shoulder acting up, necessitating a lighter instrument? Could be. Maybe he just likes the sound and thinks it looks gnarly? (It does.)

This has been the latest installment in the series “What the fuck is that thing?”


  1. The Weight

  2. The crazy sounds while he had that thing out. Not good crazy by the way.

    I assume the automagic whammy bar had gone out of control or something. Whatever it was I blame inability to control the fly.

    Some piezio, onboard effect, leaf spring tremolo malfunction.

    Actually looking at the handle on the tremolo, perhaps he kept hitting it unintentionally.

  3. George Pagnoni

    June 21, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    I don’t know why he is playing that guitar.

    At least it’s not pink and the top cutaway has an elbow allowing the guitar to go up and over his belly when playing in the seated position.

    I was at the BB&T Pavillion last night and Bobby did not take it out.

  4. The Parker Fly was invented by Ken Parker, not Larry Fishman. Yes, it’s light, but the composite neck and stainless steel frets are a perfect combination for ease of fingering. Bobby’s is a newer version, so I’m not sure of the electronics. The 2nd version had a stereo output for blending piezo in the bridge (for a killer acoustic sound) and DiMarzio humbuckers plus a tension knob for the whammy bar. I got mine in 1998 and after 30+ years of being a strict Fender player (both Strat & Tele), this guitar immediately became my No. 1 and remains there today. I played it on every tour with Mickey Hart (2000 – 2002) and it’s never let me down. The plus side of this guitar is very zen: you have no distractions because it’s so light and easy to play; and when you don’t think about playing, you just play. Glad to see Bobby finally use one…

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